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Stop Using Astrology as an Excuse to Be a Sh*tty Person

Astrology isn't stupid—but your favorite horoscope writer probably is.

Astrology is a system through which we can view and understand our lives, not an all-encompassing identity.

In this day and age, though, astrology is often used as an excuse. When you challenge someone's questionable behavior, too often the answer will be, "I'm a Virgo," or, "It's Virgo season." Ask them what that means, though, and you'll get a different answer almost every time.

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Why You Shouldn't Worship Astrology: Most Horoscopes Are BS

Here's one of the main problems with taking your horoscope at face value, or letting a single tarot card determine your mood: Astrology, fortune tellers, and other modern practitioners of fringe spiritualities tend to be flat out incorrect. Even when they aren't masters of mystical deception, they usually paint people as archetypes, arbitrarily categorized by certain numbers, names, or ideas.

Judging ourselves by charts written by completely unqualified people with no actual astrological or astronomical knowledge often serves to reaffirm our biases and desire for quick answers. Using astrology as an excuse or a definitive guide to how we see reality insulates our thinking, preventing us from embracing the ever-changing fluidity and complexity of our true natures.

Even if you believe that the position of the stars at the moment you entered this world has an influence on your life, you have to admit that most horoscopes we read online are based in unreality, and almost all are heavily flawed and vague enough to apply to almost anyone.

This isn't to say that the way most faiths are interpreted isn't also extremely flawed, and skewed by whoever's doing the interpreting; the same goes for scientific consensuses, which are always changing and being edited. Religions, spiritualities, and ideas at large tend to reflect the biases of whoever's in control of disseminating their messages, when in fact, the human world is far more insubstantial and ever-changing than most of us would like to believe.

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Don't Put Yourself in Boxes: That's What They Want

The modern system of astrology (like almost everything under late capitalism) is appealing, especially for people tired of conservative religions, largely because it relies on instant gratification. It relies on the assumption that you can overcome and outsmart the world around you, whether by avoiding specific signs or blaming your problems on the alignment of the planets—and that you can do it right away, every day.

In truth, astrology shouldn't be about easy answers or sudden revelations. It can't dictate your love life or personality. If anything, studying astrology should be about deepening your connection to the world around you, realizing that you might be more influenced by nature and other people's energies than you know.

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Astrology is just one of many ways to view yourself and the world. It's a way to question ourselves and generate discussions with others about who we are on deep levels. It's not a reason to treat other people badly or to believe restrictive and simplified ideas about ourselves and others.

As Quartz.com put it, "Astrology isn't fake—it's just been ruined by modern psychology." This kind of psychology puts us in an individualistic, good-bad, and often self-centered mindset. In the modern world of lightning-fast Internet connections and sudden snap-judgments, astrology has come to resemble other forms of pseudoscience, in that it gives us an easy, overly simplistic way out of actually thinking through issues and confronting their root causes head-on.

You Are Not Your Sign

In conclusion, please don't let yourself be defined by what the Internet tells you to believe about yourself. And don't judge other people by what the Internet tells you to believe about them, based on arbitrary signifiers and uninformed articles on Refinery29 or similar sites. Astrology is not an excuse to be cruel or avoidant or to let other people walk all over you just because you think your signs are compatible. Plus, sometimes, things you'll read on horoscopes can be genuinely hurtful or incorrect, and they could give you anxiety or exactly the wrong advice.

Just like nobody is only their gender or only their career or only their appearance, nobody is only their sign—and certainly, nobody is only their horoscope. Every Libra is different from the next Libra. Every Virgo season is different from the next Virgo season and, if we're being real, we're living in a perpetual Mercury Retrograde.

So, don't let one negative or disconcerting horoscope convince you that you're going to have an awful seven years. Don't let apps like the Pattern tell you how to relate to people. Don't let one aura picture dictate how you see yourself. Don't let your Venus in Scorpio replace hard-earned wisdom you've won about yourself, and don't cling to preconceived notions about who you are. It is more possible to change than your horoscope would have you believe, and everyone contains a little bit of every sign.

That said, it is likely that we are all at the mercy of something larger than ourselves, be it the stars or something else entirely. To believe we can know everything about the cosmos and our place in it is incredibly presumptuous and humanistic.

But to proclaim that we understand everything and everyone because of the zodiac misses its entire point. We should all remember that there's a lot we can't understand or know about the future—and in many cases, that's for the best.

New Scientist